There are only three unbeaten teams left in the NBA. By the end of Wednesday night, that number will drop to two.
The undefeated Sixers (3-0) will host the undefeated Minnesota Timberwolves (3-0) at the Wells Fargo Center.
Here are the essentials for tonight’s game:
When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
Jo vs. KAT
This will be the matchup everyone has their eyes on and for good reason. These are two of the best young big men in the game.
Karl-Anthony Towns is off to a torrid start. Through three games, he’s averaging 32 points, 13.3 rebounds and two blocks. A big part of the jump in scoring has been the vast improvement in his three-point shooting. Towns is actually tied for the NBA lead with 15 threes made while shooting 51.7 percent from distance. There’s no way that percentage stays there, but it’s an impressive start nonetheless.
Joel Embiid is off to an odd start. He struggled offensively in the opener against the Celtics, missed the second game of the season in Detroit with a right ankle sprain, and then had a 36-point performance in Atlanta Monday. Three games in, we’ve gotten the full Joel Embiid Experience.
In their first matchup back in 2016, Towns and the Timberwolves cruised. It’s been all Embiid and the Sixers in the last four matchups since. I’m curious to see how Towns will come out. Embiid has generally taken him out of his game and Towns has played a lot of disinterested basketball against him. I see an improved and more mature Towns giving a better showing and the fans getting their money’s worth watching these two square off.
The return of Cov
Robert Covington epitomizes everything that was good about former GM Sam Hinkie's Process. He was undrafted, crushed it in the G League, was picked up by a Sixers team that was trying to lose and played so well that he turned himself into an All-NBA First Team player and earned a nice contract.
Covington’s Sixers tenure came to an end last season when GM Elton Brand made the move for Jimmy Butler. Unfortunately, Covington played in just 22 games for the Timberwolves last season while dealing with a right knee bone bruise.
He recently opened up about the mental aspect of coping with that injury and the trade itself in an article for the Star Tribune.
“Imagine two years worth of stuff that you’ve been holding on to and everything just keeps piling up to the point where the pot just overflows,” Covington said. “You know what happens when a pot overflows? It hits the side of the pan and it hits the fire and the fire just explodes.”
The article is 100 percent worth your time.
As for on the court, this will be Covington’s first time actually playing his former team. He’ll undoubtedly receive a warm applause for his efforts. For a guy that’s had to earn everything in his career, it will be well deserved.
A Shake-up in the rotation
Second-year guard Shake Milton will miss time with a bone bruise and left knee sprain. The timing isn’t great as Milton was playing well and appeared to be earning more minutes.
With that, expect Furkan Korkmaz to reclaim some of the minutes Milton took from him. Korkmaz, who Brett Brown has said he’d like to develop as a “bomber” off the bench, is just 1 of 6 from three through three games.
The better option could be to get an extended look at one of the veteran point guards off the bench. Raul Neto and Trey Burke both have proven track records of being average to above average three-point shooters. Neto is more of a crafty floor general while Burke is more of a “waterbug” guard that can create his own shot — something the Sixers could use. With the size and versatility throughout the roster, the Sixers should be equipped to overcome any issues that arise from either guard’s size.
It’s also worth pointing out that James Ennis has had a tough go so far. He re-signed here after an excellent postseason but has been unable to replicate that so far this season. He played just over eight minutes in Atlanta. That number will have to go up tonight — and really for the rest of the season if the Sixers want to have a strong bench unit.
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